As he comes full circle with the Sept. 11 release of The Blueprint 3, exactly 8 years after the original Blueprint, Jay-Z discusses his journey from the projects of Brooklyn to the top of Forbes’ Hip-Hop Cash King list with Billboard. “We—Usher, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, myself—are becoming the people that we looked up to musically growing up, like Marvin Gaye and Frank Sinatra,” he says.
The rapper—whose empire includes a fashion line, music label, fragrances, and New Jersey Nets stakes—split with Def Jam partly because he felt “underutilized,” he says. “I’m an entrepreneur—that’s what I’ve been all my life. I can’t just sit here and make records and not do anything else.” And he has no plans of stepping aside: “You don’t become the front-runner in music because someone lets you.”